November 09, 2009
(Ed. Note: What We Learned will return next Monday, as Lambert has been felled by the pig virus.)
Ever since his comeback was announced, there have been two questions about former Colorado Avalanche star Peter Forsberg(notes): Is he healthy enough to play professional hockey and, if so, where would he play this season?
Swedish National team coach Bengt Gustafsson watched Forsberg at the Karjala Cup in Finland, where the Swedes suffered a 7-0 loss to the host team.
"He is in good shape. But he is missing his tempo. He hasn't played a lot of games. It is one of his biggest problems," Gustafsson told SovSport. "There is nothing at all wrong with him physically. He needs games and games tempo, intensity. That's the problem right now."
As for where he'll play, Gustafsson said the key to Foppa's Olympic prospects for 2010 in Vancouver isn't where he plays but how often: "He needs games and to find his play rhythm. Wherever he plays he will get it for sure. I just hope he feels like he wants to keep going, and finds that."
But where does Forsberg want to play? How does he feel the rehab from his foot surgery has progressed? Pavel Lysenkov of SovSport captured the star center's words over the weekend about the injury, the Olympics and, most of all, rumors that he was bound for Russia:
Q. There are a lot of rumors in Russia that you're coming to either Salavat Yulaef or Ak Bars.
FORSBERG: You know, I haven't really thought about where I am going to play. I am going to take these games [at Karjala Cup] and see after that. I don't even know if I am going to play or not. I keep all my options open. I haven't closed anything. I want to make sure I am able to play first. And then decide where I am going to play.
What can you say about your physical shape?
So-so. I haven't played too many games. I played three in the Swedish league. I had a stress fracture that had to heal up. So, it's been a month and a half that I have been injured. I definitely have some time to go before I start thinking about being in game shape. It was fast out there for me today.
Everyone is also talking about you playing at the Olympics and these games are sort of a preparation for you.
It's not really true. The Olympics are way down the line. I don't even know if I am going to play. We'll see next week. But as I told everybody, it's a dream to play at the Olympics. Of course I'd like to be there. But I have to be picked, and I have to be good enough to play and I have to be healthy enough to play.
I played with Radulov [with the Nashville Predators]. So, I knew him from before. But we didn't talk about the KHL. He can't answer a serious question that guy [Laughing].
Where would you prefer to continue your career? The KHL or the NHL?
I prefer just to continue my career.
The KHL has gone forward a lot. It has become one of the best leagues in the world. It has gone through a lot of changes in the last couple of years. With Jaromir going over there a couple of years ago as well as a couple of other good players coming over there, it means that they mean business. I don't know what's going to happen with me. I have no comment on that. But that league is a good league. Definitely. There are a lot of players in this tournament [Karjala Cup] who play over there. I think this league is going to be a good league for a very long time.
You keep coming back to hockey. Where do you get the energy? It is just your love of the game?
Yes, I would say so. I had a very tough time around 2000. I played in Colorado and we made it to the semi-finals, I think, six out of seven years. There was a lot of hockey. I was a little sick of it for a little bit because there was so much hockey and I was really living for hockey and didn't do too much outside of it. I played every game like it was my last.
There were too many games, and then I took half the year off because I had a bad ankle. That year I realized how much I missed [hockey]. When you're up in it, get a couple of months off, and then you go out and play, you don't realize how lucky you are, and how much you miss it when you're sitting on the side.
After that I realized this is what I want to do for as long as I possibly can. I love playing hockey and would never feel dissatisfied when I am on the ice again. I had a lot of surgeries, I don't know if [coming back] is the right thing. I said it before, that if I had the script and I knew how hard it was going to be the last six years, I would have retired six years ago. Now I am here, I had a big surgery; I want to see if I can play.
I just want to play hockey. If I get to play in the Olympics, or anywhere, I'd be happy. I just want to go out and be able to do what I do on the ice. We'll see if it happens again or not.
I really don't want to play if I don't feel 100 percent, if I don't feel I can do my best. I had a long career, and I am not terribly hurt so that I can't get up in the morning. Let's see what happens after this weekend, and how good it can get.
So, you will make up your mind after this weekend?
Yeah, I would say after this weekend. I am not 100 percent sure. I would hate to put myself in a position where I had to say I would make a decision Sunday or Monday. I would like to make a decision as soon as I possibly can. I have been dragging it for a very long time, and for me too. I have done and tried enough things if I come to a decision that I am going to retire. But of course I would like to be able to play. I feel good on the ice. I don't feel like I am 50 years old.
What's it like for you to be the biggest star of the tournament at Karjala Cup?
Maybe on paper, but if you look at my performance last night, I don't think you would consider myself the biggest star right now. I don't think I have played enough games to consider myself one of the best at the tournament. Let's see what happens tomorrow.
There are a lot of scouts from the Russian league here.
I don't know who's here or not. I try to stay away from thinking what teams are here to see me.
Are you talking to a lot of different clubs at the moment?
Absolutely not. There is no need to start talking to teams if I don't know if it's going to be great. I have been going through this so many times. I have been coming close to coming back so many times. And then ‘Oops, it didn't hold up.' So, I don't want to talk to any teams at all. I try to stay away from that. I am not worried about finding a team, if anything. I think it should be fine. There are plenty of teams.
If you comeback continues, what are the main factors you are considering in which league you will play - the NHL or the KHL?
I am not going to comment on any league or any team at this time.